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Author Topic: PC052: The Nalendar  (Read 9247 times)
Heradel
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« on: May 14, 2009, 10:00:27 AM »

PodCastle 052: The Nalendar

by Ann Leckie.
Read by M. K. Hobson.

“Down here!” the voice said, and she looked down at her feet, and then crouched, her dull green dress puddling behind and beside her on the gray stone. On the top of her foot was a tiny, black lizard, hardly as big as her thumb, and that only including its long, bright blue tail.

“Excuse me,” she said. “I didn’t see you at first. I’m sorry, but I’m not looking for protection, or a guide.”

“You are from the Silver Isles, I can tell by your accent.”

“I am. And I need to be on my way, good day to you.” She gently lifted the lizard onto her finger, and moved her hand aside to let it step into the road.

It stood firm. “Why are you going upstream? Your home is in the south.”

Umri searched her memory for advice on being rid of a persistent god. She found none. “I like to travel.”

“I suppose otherwise you’d never have come so far from home,” piped the tiny lizard. “Take me with you! The captain won’t charge for me.”

“I’m sorry, god whose name I don’t know, but I don’t make long-term deals.”

Rated PG. Contains a journey down a river (note: is not Huck Finn).
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Wilson Fowlie
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« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2009, 03:45:26 PM »

I really liked this a lot.  Of course, it doesn't hurt that M. K. Hobson is about my favourite Escape Artists reader (followed closely by Elizabeth Green Musselman).

A well deserved hand Wink for Ann!

Quote
(note: is not Huck Finn)
Made me laugh.
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« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2009, 10:31:37 AM »

I thought this one was neat. It had a decidedly non-Western, almost Polynesian feel to it, with the lizards and the swamps and how characters were described as looking. I liked the portrayal of gods in the story, as being interdependent on their worshippers. There was something very real about that. Very cool.
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« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2009, 08:27:48 AM »

I haven't finished listening yet, but I'd like to take issue with the line "decent men don't tie women up." I've found that many of us actually do, and that decent women seem to appreciate it provided you don't do it too tightly.

Just sayin'.
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eytanz
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« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2009, 03:51:37 AM »

Loved this story. Great world building, with lots of thought spent both on little details and big things, but presented in such a way that it didn't bog anything down. And I really liked all the characters, even the slimy suitor/prince guy. My only minor nitpick is that it relied on a big coincidence - why did the skink approach the same woman that his would-be-king was interested in? I could see that the river was meddling in her affairs by setting the whole thing up, but she was clearly not colluding with the skink so I'm unclear on how that worked out. Anyway, that's a minor nitpick in a really great story.

Oh, and "Reasonable Expectations" is the best riverboat name ever.
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Rachel Swirsky
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« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2009, 04:30:02 AM »

Quote
that decent women seem to appreciate it provided you don't do it too tightly

I dunno, we're not all decent. Wink

Point taken, though, that the phrase "against their will" could have been tagged onto the end of that sentence. Wink Not sure it was in char, though. I don't really remember where it appeared in the piece.
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eytanz
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« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2009, 05:00:03 AM »

Quote
that decent women seem to appreciate it provided you don't do it too tightly

I dunno, we're not all decent. Wink

Point taken, though, that the phrase "against their will" could have been tagged onto the end of that sentence. Wink Not sure it was in char, though. I don't really remember where it appeared in the piece.

She was trying to convince the slave she was distantly related to to untie her.
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Listener
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« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2009, 07:58:04 AM »

Quote
that decent women seem to appreciate it provided you don't do it too tightly

I dunno, we're not all decent. Wink

Point taken, though, that the phrase "against their will" could have been tagged onto the end of that sentence. Wink Not sure it was in char, though. I don't really remember where it appeared in the piece.

Right after Umri is tied to the wheel and her almost-cousin shows up with the cushion. It wouldn't have been in character to say "against their will", and it would've opened an unnecessary door in the story. It's just a personal comment. *eg*
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« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2009, 08:01:46 AM »

I liked the story, though I felt that Umri was TOO powerful a female character... like, she has all the skills a woman could possibly need. Not to say that such women don't exist, because many do, but for storytelling purposes I felt Umri had it too easy.

MK Hobson's readings are always good, but the voice for Umri was too close to her narrator voice, so occasionally it was hard to distinguish what was dialogue and what was narration.

The producer did not leave enough space for some of the section breaks, especially toward the end.

Still, overall quite good. I really enjoyed the worldbuilding and the Pratchett-esque treatment of the small gods.
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SirJolt
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« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2009, 10:36:39 AM »

Great exercise in building a setting, a lot of fun. The ending was unexpected enough to be fun without being a total shocker.

Overall a lovely story, I didn't immediately equate it with a South American feel, but I can definitely see why others did. I enjoyed it a lot, but I can't offer too much explanation for why; I guess that might be why I had so much fun listening to it.

I must say I'm also enjoying these longer than average episodes.
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Anarkey
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« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2009, 10:02:49 AM »

Oh yay!  I believe this is one of the only one of Ann's gods stories I hadn't read and now I'm all caught up (hint: this could be interpreted as an exhortation to write more of them)!  Loved the Nalendar herself, loved the setting and the imagery, loved the way the lives of the gods and the people are intertwined.

For people who really liked the worldbuilding, I'd recommend the other stories in this setting: Marsh Gods, The God of Au, The Snake's Wife

Oh hey, will you look at that?  I thought The God of Au was the horse one and it isn't.  I don't think I've read that one!  Woot!  It's like she actually DID go out and write and extra story because it's new to me! 

Also, there's a really good horse one, possibly my favorite of the ones in this world, but I can't remember what it's called or where it was published.  Maybe Ann will stop by the thread later and let us know (or, you know, update her website).
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Rachel Swirsky
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« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2009, 12:00:02 AM »

By the horse one, I think you mean the piece of hers which will be appearing in Realms of Fantasy when it kicks back up again.

FTR, of the stories you named, God of Au is the oldest. So she didn't manage to sneak out and write it new for you. Smiley
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Ocicat
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« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2009, 03:56:09 PM »

I thought it was a very fun story, and especially enjoyed the skink god.  And the general bit about how gods can't lie, but can deceive (which is a lot like something I use in my own little fantasy universe, though in that case it's dragons who can't lie).

The recording level was way too low though.  Even turned all the way up, I could barely hear it in the car.  So that got in the way of my appreciation quite a bit.
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Wilson Fowlie
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« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2009, 04:11:02 PM »

For people who really liked the worldbuilding, I'd recommend the other stories in this setting: Marsh Gods, The God of Au, The Snake's Wife

Anarkey, thanks hugely for these pointers.  I liked this world more with every story!
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« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2009, 04:17:50 PM »

I loved this story.  The gods are lots of fun, and piece was very clever.  Thanks so much for writing this one, Ann.

Hmm
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Anarkey
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« Reply #15 on: May 26, 2009, 05:26:33 PM »

For people who really liked the worldbuilding, I'd recommend the other stories in this setting: Marsh Gods, The God of Au, The Snake's Wife

Anarkey, thanks hugely for these pointers.  I liked this world more with every story!

Yay!  I'm so glad to be able to share!  My librarian training often kicks in an 'if you like this, then you might also like x and y' on story comments and it's so nice when it pans out for someone else's enjoyment.  Also, I think this world and its stories, engaging and fun and intricate, can certainly benefit from more exposure.
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Rachel Swirsky
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« Reply #16 on: May 26, 2009, 06:13:04 PM »

Quote
can certainly benefit from more exposure.

mumble, mumble, SHORT STORY COLLECTION, mumble
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Hilary Moon Murphy
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« Reply #17 on: May 26, 2009, 09:51:48 PM »


Yay!  I'm so glad to be able to share!  My librarian training often kicks in an 'if you like this, then you might also like x and y' on story comments and it's so nice when it pans out for someone else's enjoyment.  Also, I think this world and its stories, engaging and fun and intricate, can certainly benefit from more exposure.

Oh, another librarian.  How awesome.  I'm one too.  And thanks for sharing those other story links.  I agree with Rachel that an anthology would be a very cool thing indeed.

Hmm
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Loz
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« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2009, 02:41:53 PM »

I'm a morally ambiguous librarian, I stand between the light and the dark...

The story was a fun way to pass the time, though the small God reminded me of Small Gods. And it's nice to have a hero who, at the end of it all, isn't ashamed to go back for the gold.
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cuddlebug
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« Reply #19 on: May 31, 2009, 07:32:45 AM »

Another great story and very well read. Bravo! and I also enjoyed the emphasis of the notion that Gods depend on/feed on people's prayers, their belief in them, or rather their devotion and the ritualistic affirmation of said belief. The lizard or any god growing in physique, power and strength proportionally to the amount of blood spilled in their name is an image one could ponder for hours.

The skink was my favourite character by far, it was also the most thoroughly developed character in the story, whereas the protag's personality/back story/feelings or deeper motivations fell a bit flat for me.

All in all a very enjoyable tale.
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